Econsult Solutions, Inc. (ESI) provided a Benefit-Cost analysis for Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority’s (SEPTA) and Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s (PennDOT) successful grant application for USDOT Federal Railroad Administration’s (FRA) State of Good Repair Partnership funding. The $8.3M FRA grant is 50% of the $16.7 needed to complete shovel-ready capacity improvements on the Harrisburg Line linking Philadelphia and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania by rail. Non-federal funds meeting the 50% match have been committed from SEPTA, PennDOT, and Amtrak. ESI found that the anticipated benefits that would be generated are significantly greater the project cost.
For fifteen years the Intercity Harrisburg Line has supported sustained growth of ridership. The rail line serves Amtrak’s Keystone and Pennsylvanian routes, SEPTA’s Paoli-Thorndale route, and freight transportation. The rail infrastructure improvement of ten miles of track will reduce congestion, enhance operations, and improve travel speed. Upgrades will eliminate a choke point, and enhance capacity, reliability, and safety.